Fireside with Angelo
Written by Hamish McLean
Last week I had the great privilege to sit down and interview Angelo Lin, a former consultant and team leader at the Melbourne University branch of 180DC. I will admit, before sitting down with Angelo, I did what all good Commerce students do and had a quick perusal of his LinkedIn. Angelo is now a Media Activation Executive at Essence and six months into the world of work ahead of us students. After we worked through the unavoidable technical glitches that seem to mark one in every two video conferences, I asked him about his work and what it actually means to be a Media Activation Executive. As I quickly learnt, Angelo has a fascinating role: working with Google to oversee the beta testing of its new advertising products.
Shifting to the theme of social impact, I started to ask Angelo about his 180DC experience. Starting as a consultant and after really finding his feet during the first project, Angelo took on the responsibility of becoming a Team Leader the next semester. He jokingly admitted that his initial motivation for joining 180DC was really just to fill out his CV but he quickly came to align with the club, its mission and its people. Continuing this interest, he explained his recent work leading a pro-bono consulting project with his co-workers. Without being prompted, he reflected that the world of social impact can be quite daunting for those who haven’t dipped their feet in yet. He reflected that after some initial hesitancy from his co-workers, he realised the importance of articulating to his team how their work can directly contribute to their client’s longer-term objectives. In doing so he touched on what seems to be a common misconception amongst current students: that the world of social impact is reserved for those more experienced, with the better part of a career under their belt
This discussion quickly morphed into lessons on leading and building effective teams. As I had now come to realise, Angelo is an incredibly friendly and people-focused individual. After a few introductory remarks, our conversation flowed quickly and with ease. Quite appropriately, he recognised that this is his strong point and his major contribution to any team. He contended that as a leader it’s important to remain true to your leadership style - this is the one that fits most comfortably with you. Rather than trying to lead in a way that doesn’t come naturally, instead look to surround yourself with people that complement your approach. For him at 180DC, this meant working alongside our current Vice-President, Will. The two formed a natural duo: Angelo could focus on ensuring everyone was confident in their work and Will could focus on managing the direction of the overall project. The team functioned effectively because each member was able to fill the role that came most naturally to them.
We seemed to reach a nice conclusion here, but Angelo wasn’t yet finished with our ad-hoc general theory on building high performing teams. He paid his respects to Steph, his first team leader at 180DC who he still attributes his interest in social impact to. What was great about Steph he commented, was that she didn’t just allow each person to play exclusively to their strengths. Instead as a leader, she pushed each member to confront their weaker areas. After developing our own rapport, Angelo confessed that some of his fondest memories from University were his busy days at 180DC. He noted that it wasn’t a natural jump for him to go from consultant to team leader, but with the well-intended push from Steph, he was able to come out of his shell and take responsibility for leading one of the club’s social impact projects. Closing out our conversation, I certainly got the impression that Angelo’s 180DC experience meant a lot to him. As a current member of the club, it’s encouraging to hear of not only the legacy we can leave for our non-for-profit clients but also the legacy we can leave on the students we work with.
P.S. Here’s a shout-out to Steph, from Angelo.